Teneo logo

CHILE: Government recalibrates Covid-19 response

Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Listen to our reports with a personalized podcasts through your Amazon Alexa or Apple devices audio translated into several languages

en flag
zh flag
de flag
pt flag
es flag
Press play to listen
( 3 mins read )

The beginnings of a new Covid-19 strategy are becoming apparent as the government grapples with a rising case count. As of yesterday, 17 June, 4,757 new cases and 232 deaths were reported. With the addition of 31,412 cases now attributed to Covid-19 but previously not counted in the official tally, the total case count has reached 220,181, meaning that Chile has among the highest number of Covid-19 cases per capita in the world. Some of the change in strategy predates the arrival of new Health Minister Enrique Paris on 13 June, though the departure of Jaime Manalich and the parallel agreement for a new basic emergency income (IFE) package last weekend have helped drive the new approach.

In the first instance, Paris has led a change in tone from his controversial predecessor. The new minister is at pains to demonstrate a new openness to sometime critics of government policy; has continued methodological revisions; and has met the highly-regarded head of the country’s medical union (Colegio Medico), which is urging the government to boost its test and trace capabilities. Testing rates are relatively high but remain insufficient, while test results are too slow. Meanwhile, the use of cellphone location data to observe quarantine compliance is now under consideration.

The lower house of Congress yesterday, 17 June, approved stricter penalties for those who break quarantine rules, including larger fines and longer prison sentences for the most serious infractions. At the same time, the number of times residents of areas under stricter quarantines can leave home to carry out essential activities (e.g. shopping for groceries) is being reduced. The police and military are already carrying out around 30,000 daily checks in the Santiago Metropolitan Area (RM), much of which is under quarantine.

There are at least two issues with stricter enforcement measures. First, an administrative route could prove a more effective solution than policing. A reduction in the number of people holding dispensations because they are engaged in “essential activities” could be an option; around 1.5mn people (out of approximately 9mn currently under quarantine conditions) possess exemptions. Second, there are authoritarian overtones to a stricter approach that do not sit well in the Chilean context. The Broad Front (FA)’s opposition to tougher penalties points to how politically delicate the issue is; the high-profile FA deputy Gabriel Boric has accused the government of “criminalizing poverty.”

In parallel, and partly to counter the Boric line of attack, a bill to recalibrate the IFE also passed in the lower house; the Senate should follow suit today, 18 June. The urgency with which the matter is being handled is an indicator of how important the roll-out of the basic emergency income is to ensuring quarantines have the intended effect – without an income, people reliant on daywork and who have little or nothing in the way of savings have no choice but to go out to work. The challenge will be to ensure the IFE reaches as far and as wide as it possibly can.

The next three to four weeks will be a crucial test of whether the new approach can help flatten the curve of infections. From 19 June, a further five communes will enter quarantine conditions, bringing the total number of communes under quarantine to 55, accounting for some 9.7mn people, the highest number since the outbreak started.

Access to 10+ top independent research providers for an affordable flat rate
Flexible to your changing needs and markets.
Ideal for small/mid-sized hedge funds, family offices, private wealth managers, and corporates


( 5 mins read ) Press play to listen This week, the challenge facing Peru’s new caretaker president is to build congressional support for his new cabinet, though the signs that he can appear positive. Two crucial spending rules in Brazil could come

Read More »

MEXICO: Notes on a scandal

( 3 mins read ) A US federal judge earlier today, 18 November, ceded to a Department of Justice (DoJ) request to drop drug trafficking and money laundering charges against former defense minister Salvador Cienfuegos (2012-2018), who was arrested in

Read More »


( 5 mins read ) This week, Peru’s Congress should vote in a new president after the collapse of the Manuel Merino administration after only five days. In Argentina, President Alberto Fernandez has seemingly been blindsided by his VP as Cristina Fernandez

Read More »

PERU: Merino off balance already

( 3 mins read ) Since he was sworn in as president on 10 November, Manuel Merino has appointed a cabinet chief (PCM) and a new cabinet. At the same time, protests against Merino’s elevation following Martin Vizcarra’s ouster have grown in

Read More »

PERU: Unstable horizon as Vizcarra ousted

( 3 mins read ) Congress voted by an overwhelming margin yesterday, 9 November, to impeach President Martin Vizcarra. There were 105 votes for impeachment, 19 against, and four abstentions. Vizcarra has already said that he will not challenge the

Read More »

Latam Pulse

( 5 mins read ) The week kicks off with Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra facing an impeachment vote. Meanwhile, Brazil’s municipal elections are looming as tax wrangles continue in Congress. Argentina prepares for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) visit and

Read More »

CHILE: Governing from weakness

( 3 mins read ) President Sebastian Pinera’s administration increasingly resembles a damage limitation exercise. This week, Pinera lost an Interior Minister, Victor Perez, who had only been in the job for 98 days. In parallel, a bill that would

Read More »

PERU: Bracing for another impeachment bout

( 5 mins read ) President Martin Vizcarra should survive next week’s impeachment vote, though congressional fragmentation injects uncertainty into the outlook. Even if Vizcarra sees off this threat, the hostile politics behind his impeachment will persist. Vizcarra’s impeachment would

Read More »

Latam Pulse

( 5 mins read ) This week, Chile is set to embark on a lengthy constitutional re-write process following yesterday’s referendum to scrap its dictatorship-era constitution. In Peru, President Martin Vizcarra faces a second impeachment challenge in two months. Government

Read More »

MEXICO: How would AMLO approach a Biden administration?

( 5 mins read ) President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has navigated challenges laid down by his US counterpart Donald Trump relatively successfully; adapting to a possible Joe Biden administration would not be too difficult. Bilateral relations would likely

Read More »

Follow our contributors on Twitter

Episodio 31 de La Economía en 3 minutos. Esta semana "La vida en Brecha". El balance cambiario muestra que es imperativo corregir para reducir la brecha cambiaria y no seguir perdiendo reservas. La Economía cae menos del 11%. La música es para el 10.


#Opinión | Fundó una religión laica e imaginaria, que sintetiza el paso milimétrico y la pasión incontrolable. Por Eduardo Fidanza https://www.perfil.com/noticias/columnistas/un-dios-polisemico-por-eduardo-fidanza.phtml

[DEPORTE] Lionel Messi se lamentó por haber hecho un solo gol. “Abajo de la Newells, tenía la camiseta de Darth Vader. Queda para la próxima”.

You can be appalled by China's tariffs on Australian wine, or you can believe Biden should keep Trump's trade war tariffs against China in place, but you can't believe both things. Either unilateral tariffs are a legitimate diplomatic weapon or they're not.

Global #FoodCommodityPrices: Research has shown that the elasticity of agricultural commodities prices with respect the U.S. dollar is close to unity. Nearly half of the #FoodPriceIndex uptick since May 2020 may be due to U.S. dollar movements. http://ow.ly/cI1Z50CwtTu

En esta nota resumo todo lo que hemos vivido desde que nos organizamos para pedir la vuelta a clases presenciales con @PadresOrg. La despedida a Maradona es el disparador para exponer los argumentos equivocados que siguen defendiendo escuelas cerradas.


After serving four years for “picking quarrels” over a protest tracking project, a Chinese man is tracked at every move and run out of town, having been warned for using a VPN and had his devices taken and returned. https://www.wsj.com/articles/their-goal-is-to-make-you-feel-helpless-in-xis-china-little-room-for-dissent-11606496176

In his first interview Arm China chief said there was no conflict of interest personally investing in Arm's chip clients.

Backers of his $100m personal investment fund at heart of conflict include Temasek unit which put up half of the money https://twitter.com/fttechnews/status/1332288409927344128

FT Technology News@fttechnews

Arm China chief defends move to seize control of unit https://on.ft.com/37dXMFL

Morrison did not "mess up" relations with China. It was a deliberate strategy to put Australia on the frontlines ("canary in the coalmine"), show Australia's relevance to US interests, and trial methods to undermine the PRC's global standing that could be exported elsewhere.

Load More...